This is really a 'Nightlife' tip!!
Thousands of young people from all over South Wales (and further afield) come to Cardiff at the weekend to get drunk! If you want to avoid this, get away from the massive, crowded chain pubs around the Wood Street area and instead head along St Mary Street towards the Castle, to find a smaller, friendlier more genuine city 'tafarn'.
There are a couple of Brains pubs that sell the local brew. My personal favorite is "Dempsey's", directly opposite the castle on ..erm.. Castle Street. It is a pleasant Irish themed pub with a mixed clientele (and big TV screen on match days). There are great view of the castle walls from the bar! Nearby, the "Goat Major" (around the corner on High Street) can be an 'old man's' pub, but has traditional character, is Welsh themed and serves good Brains beer.
Then there is the "Rummer Tavern" (near to Burger King on Duke Street) which apparently dates back to the 1710's. It does not sell Brains (which makes a change) but is full of olde worldy character and is pleasant enough.
Did you know that the Mayor of Cardiff is planning a Nuclear Power Station on the site of Cardiff Castle, which she will then use as an enormous inter-galactic surfboard?
Or that enormous flying creatures have slipped through a fault in time, attacked St Paul's Church, Grangetown and eaten the vicar??
Yes this is all true, thanks to the cult BBC TV series, Dr Who. It has been filmed in the Cardiff area since 2004 and is shown on BBC1 a few months later. Back by popular demand for a second series, it can't be bad.
Dr Who originally ran from 1963 to the early 1990's on the BBC. I remember as a child hiding behind the sofa and watching 'Sea Devils', 'Darleks' and the 'Green Death' :-)
Now it has begun again. And because the production team are based in Cardiff, local landmarks (Milennium Centre, Roald Dahl Plaza, Grangetown, St Davids Market, Queens West Shopping Centre, Barry Island etc.) have been showcased in most of the new programmes.
No doubt a new generation of ?Doctor Who? fans will be visiting the city soon :-)
Between 2005 and 2009 large parts of Cardiff city centre will become a building site. The new "St Davids 2" project will create 750,000 square feet of new shopping centre. It will involve the crazy demolition of Cardiff Central Library (only 18 years old!) and one of Cardiff's oldest pubs, The Vulcan. Large areas of the city centre will be privatised and locked up at night. Routes through the city centre for bicycles will be lost altogether!
I really just want a good rant about this ;-)
Does Cardiff really need more characterless national department stores? In 2005 the independent David Morgan department store closed after 125 years in Cardiff. And in 2006 the last family run department store in the nearby town of Barry closed too. City centres across the UK are beginning to look identical :-(
So if you visit Cardiff and find big holes in the road, flattened buildings, dust and noise, you now know it is because Cardiff's character is being sanitised in the interests of big business.
STOP PRESS: the new shopping centre and library have been completed at last and look very smart. The Bus Station is the next victim and will be a building site for some time to come. Maybe this warning can be removed sometime soon!
I don't know if there is a local word for the "English weather" in Wales, but it seems they get their portion of rain as well. So, if you are planning a short visit (like me) be prepared for lots of clouds and occasional rain.
It did seem a lot worse at the TV weather forecast than in the real life (it rained only for a short period of time). But at the end I ended up with all my photos having the white sky and needing some colour improvements in Photoshop.
(And please - do not leave the "fabulous photos" or "great pics" comments on this page. I'll know you are not telling the truth!)
Despite the pleasent feel to the city, come 2am as with most cities around the uk.Cardiff becomes a very unpleasent sight.
Drunken men trying to start fights,People drugged up to their eyeballs, Caroline Street becomes a complete mess with all sorts of litter on the floor.Despite a heavy police presence if someone picks a fight with you.You will have little option but to fight back, whats even worse if soemone intervenes they might not just use their fists they might also have a weapon.Just last night i noticed 5 ambulances within a few metres of each other.Also be aware that some people will start a fight whatever the reason.
If your a single man or woman coming to Cardiff, i would recomend that on a Fri and Sat night you stay away from the city centre.Despite it being friendly at the beginning of the evening, at the end it turns into a complete nightmare.
Please be very aware of this.Taxis can either be your saviour or a disaster.im lucky i know two people who drive cabs and can get a lift home with them any time i need.Some taxi drivers though are complete and utter rip offs.Never go into a unliscensed cab, espicially if you are a woman, infact unless its a female driver i strongly recomend all woman to go into a taxi in pairs or a group never alone.There have been previous incidents of young woman being sexually assualted by unliscensed cab drivers so take note.
Secondly some cab drivers, even the liscensed ones will try and rip you off the futher you live away from the city centre.Always negotiate the price before you leave town.The following numbers are two of Cardiffs best cab firms.
While we found Cardiff to be friendly and clean, we heard and saw evidence of Cardiff being a little rowdy at night, especially when there are events at the Millenium Stadium. Like most cities, violent crime is not unheard of here. Travel in groups at night and avoid dark alleys - listen to your mom's advice. Look at the link below for crime rates in Cardiff.
There are a few no go areas at night in Cardiff.Firstly be careful walking through some parts of Grangetown,Muggings and pick pocketers do work there.Secondly be aware prostitutes work just by riverside at a place named the magic roundabout.These streets are policed by cops every 15 minutes and the girls will have no problem taken money from you.thirdly be aware that Bute Street is not a place a recomend walking at night.In the past i have met a few people who didnt take kindly to me walking there.
Cardiff has the second largest population of seagulls of all the cities in Britain. After all, it is near the coast and has lots of flat roofed buildings for the sea birds to nest. Seagulls are quite big and can be intimidating. Their population is increasing by 3 percent per year. They literally 'rule the roost', even killing and eating smaller garden birds!
This week the local newspaper published a story about two restaurant diners who were robbed by a seagull. They were sitting outside eating a chicken dinner in Cardiff Bay when a seagull swooped a stole the chicken breast from the plate. It was a peri-peri chicken glazed with honey, so seagulls evidently have a cosmopolitan taste ;o)
Watch out and look above you before you tuck in to your food in Cardiff!!
While much or most of Cardiff Market is pleasant, be wary if you venture upstairs and find yourself in the neighbourhood of the Collectors Models stall. It appears deserted but pretty and you stop to gaze a while. No sign of a stall owner. I stood back to admire the stall as a whole and took a couple of snaps of the stall and the stock for sale. It's a public place and they're on public display, you think. Nex thing, as if from nowhere, a thin bespectacled old man poked his head u over the counter of the adjoining stall and barked at me. A high pitched bark like a little dog. "You stop pointing that thing here and put it away" he snarled. "You should never take photographs without asking." I'm thinking Madonna. I'm thinking Paparazzi. I slink away feeling rotten and the magic of his collectors stall is all gone forever.
I took it personally until I got back to my Cousin's house and spoke to her sons, ages 21, 17, and 15. "He's always like that" they said.
Just be wary!!
Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium is both a major attraction and a potential minefield for tourists. Unless you’re an architect geek don’t bother with the stadium tour – it looks its most impressive from the outside and that’s free.
The biggest threat posed by the Stadium is visiting Cardiff when a match is on. Cardiff is a small city and 75,000 visitors absolutely swamp the place – traffic is a nightmare and the only way to get a drink is to go to Newport. The crowds of supporters can also prove very intimidating.
If you’re planning a weekend break (especially in the winter) it’s worth checking whether there is an event on at the Stadium.
This spunky tail-less peacock followed us around the castle grounds expecting a handout. Well we didn't have anything to feed him so he would take a peck at us once in awhile to remind us he was still hungry.
WARNING - take him some food. LOL
Summer at the moment is top weather average about 23 deg C but is subject to change! Check the weather before you visit, but dont let this spoil your trip - its all part of the adventure :o)
check out the snow here - bloody baltic too! pretty though eh?
In the space of 8 days in May 2002, Cardiff hosted both the FA Cup final and the European Rugby cup final. Cardiff is a small city and is best avoided on days such as these. The streets, pubs and restaurants are all packed and it can be a little chaotic.
You may or may not have been warned about the drink/drunk culture in Cardiff. I don't tend to notice it too much but there are some times when drunkeness can be prominent. All i would say is to be as sensible as you would in any other city and enjoy yourself.